If we are not saved by works (Eph 2:10), then how can James say “faith without works is dead”?
The first thing to remember is that James and Paul are both disciples of Jesus Christ, our Lord. They are both emphasizing His teaching – to follow Him. We don’t EARN following Jesus, we are called by Him – that is grace. But we have to choose to keep following Him – that is action. Our actions don’t save us; they show that we are following Jesus – Jesus saves us.
James makes another point here, though, that is often missed in the debate – how we live out our faith doesn’t just change us – it changes others. We are so concerned with our own salvation that we miss the point James is trying to make: God saves us and gives us faith so that OTHERS may be saved, be blessed, and have better lives. Our faith is given so that we can help others in their need and weakness. To believe in Jesus without helping others, says James, is useless.